cover image The Voyeuronversationcisco Bay

The Voyeuronversationcisco Bay

Alberto Moravia, Alberto Noravia. Farrar Straus Giroux, $18.95 (280pp) ISBN 978-0-374-28544-9

Restricted in scale and with a limited cast, Moravia's old preserve of sexual obsession is occupied in this latest novel by a 35-year-old intellectual, a professor of French literature locked in oedipal combat with his aged but still-vital father, a famous physicist and academic ""baron.'' The father is upheld by the bourgeois establishment, the son a one-time student activist who surrenders, as a protest against private property, all claim to the handsome flat bequeathed to him by his mother. His wife seems to desire the flat; she also desires an extramarital arrangement with the father. The son, for his part, envisions the nuclear explosion of the dome of St. Peter's and the imminent end of the world. When Moravia confines himself to his restless characters, the novel progresses fluidly enough, but he yields far too often to his weakness for conceptual trappings. The father-son disagreements are tiresome, and differing views about the nuclear bomb are not presented with any new drama. But it's gratifying to observe that Moravia, at age 80, has lost none of his engergy and agility. (March)